Fifty-seven pages into her new memoir, Core of Conviction, Michele Bachmann makes a confession. "When I say something wrong, I'm hard on myself, because I'm trying to communicate information accurately," she writes. "And so as someone who talks for a living, I've learned to check, double-check, and triple-check my sources. And yet I still make a mistake or two!"
So we've heard. Bachmann's book, her first, hits stores this week, just in time for the Black Friday rush, and given the Minnesota congresswoman's lagging poll position, it might be the best thing that's happened to her in months. In the totally nuts, absolutely wild, up-is-down, Newt-is-up 2012 GOP primary campaign, there's no better miracle elixir for a rough patch than a book tour. Herman Cain's rise in the polls corresponded with his decision to stop campaigning in early primary states, and instead hawk his book; Newt Gingrich, who has spent much of his campaign selling documentaries and children's books, is experiencing his own unexpected surge just as he's released his latest work of historical fiction. If Core of Conviction can't save Bachmann's campaign, nothing will.
At Saturday's GOP presidential forum in Iowa, newly minted frontrunner Newt Gingrich tore into the Occupy Wall Street movement, pointing to it as a symbol of exactly what's wrong with America. "All the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything," he explained. "That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, 'Go get a job, right after you take a bath'":
Take that, hippies! Gingrich's zinger is part of an age-old argument on the right, which feebly insists that unemployment is actually caused by systematic laziness on the part of the unemployed rather than structural problems. Which isn't to say OWS went entirely unrepresented at the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines. Prior to the debate, GOP moderator Frank Luntz turned the floor over briefly to an OWS protester and gave him two minutes to explain his grievances. The protester turned out to be a fairly run-of-the-mill Ron Paul supporter, and spent his time railing against the Federal Reserve. America!
On Saturday, the GOP presidential field—sans Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman—will gather at the First Federated Church in Des Moines for what's being billed as the "first of its kind" Thanksgiving Family Forum. It's a chance for the candidates to make their pitch to the state's social conservative caucus voters. Frank Luntz, the pollster and Fox News personality who's moderating the event, promises there will be "no gotcha questions by the panel. No spin by the politicians. Just an authentic discussion among the people who seek to lead this great nation." Well, he's probably right about the gotcha questions.
The absence of Romney and Huntsman is notable because they are both Mormon—a serious issue at the most recent social conservative confab. But in light of recent events, perhaps the bigger story is this: The event is being co-sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM!), which just this week promoted an op-ed arguing that gays were responsible for the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.
Per Equality Matters, NOM's site excerpted a piece from anti-gay activist Michael Brown. The column went after Rush Limbaugh, of all people, for not having the courage to publicly link what happened at Penn State to the gay agenda:
He takes on the president, the Congress, and the media (not to mention his derisive attacks on foreign leaders and even radical Muslims), but there's one group he won't take on, one subject he won't touch.
What is it that, in his words, could end his career? What is it about the Penn State scandal that is "glaring; it's right in front of everybody," and yet "nobody has the guts to actually give the explanation for what was going on and why there was trepidation in reporting it"?
Could it be that the sex abuse scandal involved a man allegedly abusing boys, meaning that the acts were homosexual in nature? And could it be that even Rush Limbaugh didn't have the guts to address this?
Huntsman, who not coincidentally has failed to gain traction in the polls, has been the GOP's voice of reason on social issues. Asked about his support for civil unions at a July debate in Iowa, Huntsman stated: "I think this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality." Earlier this year, Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed NOM's marriage pledge, commiting to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and to "appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters." You can watch the forum, Saturday at 5 p.m., here.
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich thinks Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) should be thrown in jail. The feeling's mutual.
To date, the one-liner of the 2012 presidential campaign belongs to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who in an interview with Chris Matthews on Thursday, said of Newt Gingrich's consulting company, "'Frankly, I thought the 'Gingrich Group' were his wives." (Gingrich has been married three times—zing!)
Frank rarely needs an excuse to pop off, and Gingrich has given him plenty in recent months. At a debate in October, for instance, the former House speaker called for Frank and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to be thrown in jail for their ties to the mortgage industry, which is not the kind of charge you just casually throw out.
So, what's at the root of the Gingrich-Frank hate-fest?
It depends on who you ask. Frank's explanation speaks to an underlying criticism of the former Speaker: "I despise Gingrich because of the negative effect he has had on American politics." As he told Mother Jones in 1995, he thinks Gingrich is a phony intellectual driven only by a lust for power: "That's why he says so many wrong things: He doesn't know a lot about substance. He half-reads some future-oriented books and out of that comes a gabble that's not terribly coherent." Boom.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have to start eating off the dollar menu soon.
If Rick Perry had one thing going for him as a Presidential candidate (well, other than the execution thing), it was his bank account. The Texas Governor, we were told going to the campaign, had access to the deep pocketbooks of Lone Star State donors, folks like homebuilder Bob Perry andbusinessman James Leininger. He had not one but two Super-PACs to his name, including one, Make Us Great Again (MUGA!), that was helmed by a former chief-of-staff turned lobbyist, Mike Toomey. MUGA expected to raise and spend $55 million to support Perry during the primary alone.
But Perry didn't actually start off with all that money. It was just supposed to come in once he established his dominance as the Anti-Romney prophesied by the ancients. Except he hasn't done that, and as the Houston Chronicle reports, the donors have stopped showing up. Literally:
Perry’s loyal backers are running into resistance from Republican donors. One Perry fundraiser, who asked not to be named, said he received 15 RSVPs for a recent event from potential donors saying they might attend. But after a gaffe-marred Perry debate performance, none showed up.
"The debates have taken a toll," the fundraiser said. "The national numbers have taken a toll. People see the campaign on a negative trajectory."
Perry is currently peppering the airwaves in Iowa and South Carolina with advertisements, tarring President Obama for his "privileged" upbringing. But unless the money spigot turns on again, he won't be able to keep that up forever.